LLC 2023: Gujarat Giants won ‘battle of nerves’ against Bhilwara Kings by three runs

 Lendl Simmons heroic effort went in vain as Gujarat Giants registered a thrilling three-run win over Bhilwara Kings in the fourth match of the Legends League Cricket (LLC) here at the JSCA Cricket Stadium.

Countering Chris Gayle’s explosive knock in the first inning, his former Caribbean teammate Simmons did exceptionally well to dominate the game with his 99-run innings but went down till the last ball of the match.

Earlier, Bhilwara Kings won the toss and decided to field first. Jacques Kallis (14), in order to accelerate the pace of run flow was found short of his crease with 33/1 on the board. Meanwhile, at the other end, Chris Gayle continued to exploit opposition bowling attacks and targeted pace attack Ryan Sidebottom for 25 runs in the sixth over.

Gayle’s aggression was controlled by Rahul Sharma when he trapped him LBW and reduced the side’s total at 91/2. He hammered 52 runs off 27 balls. The next over witnessed the dismissal of well-settled batter Richard Levi (28) who became the victim of Jessel Karia as the scorecard read 97/3.

Thereafter, Irish batter Kevin O’Brien (11) again failed to deliver putting his team into backfoot on 113/4. The departure of Parthiv Patel (8) added more misery to the team as half of the team went back at 121.

A 29-run partnership between Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and unbeaten Chirag Khurana drove the team to 150 before the former was dismissed for 24. With Chirag (24) and unbeaten Rajat Bhatia, Gujarat Giants posted 172/6 in the stipulated twenty overs.

Jessal Karia (2/16) and Rahul Sharma (2/25) shared two wickets each.

While chasing down the target of 173, Bhilwara Kings openers Solomon Mire (8) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) were accounted to Rayad Emrit with 14/2 on the board. Both the new batters – Lendl Simmons and Robin Bist compensated for the initial blow with a partnership of 45 runs. But in the eighth over, Sarabjit Ladda provided the breakthrough for Gujarat Giants in the form of Robin Bisht (18), taking the score to 59/3.

Meanwhile, Simmons completed his half-century in 34 balls but at the other end, wicketkeeper batter Pinal Shah (16) didn’t stay for long and left the side at 93/4. Struggling with his form Yusuf Pathan (5) was the next one to go who fell prey to Shreesanth with the score of 110/5.

Later, skipper Irfan Pathan (9), who was the hero of the last match was bowled by Bhatia which added more woes to the team for 140/6. With the dismissal of Chris Bernwall (1) by Ishwar Chaudhary in the very next over, Giants smelt the win. But the partnership of 28 runs between Simmons and Jessel Karia took the game till the last ball of the match.

Bowler Sreesanth aptly defended the 14 runs needed to win in the last over as Bhilwara Kings were restricted to 167/7.

Unbeaten Simmons went one short of his ton by hitting 12 boundaries and three beyond the fence in 61 balls stay. Jessel added 10 runs. Rayad Emrit (2/30) and Ishwar Chaudhary (2/32) clinched two wickets each.

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